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Rocky Mountain Front
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Monday, Dec. 10, 2012
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, energy, water and wolves are in the news.

Canada announced that it would allow a state-owned company from China to buy Canadian energy firm Nexen, although the decision comes with some conditions that will apply to all such deals in the future.

Those conditions include some reciprocity from foreign governments and a prohibition against foreign corporations holding controlling interests or some specific assets.

In the United States, the Western Governors Association is at work on an energy strategy for that 19-state organization that should be released by next year.

Concerns about oil and natural gas drilling operations on groundwater has Colorado set to begin monitoring groundwater before and after drilling occurs.

In Idaho, more details about the $30-million purchase of three fish farms by four groundwater districts have been released.

And today the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission will consider some restrictions on wolf trapping near Yellowstone National Park, after eight wolves collared for research within the park were shot and killed by hunters outside the park in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

Rockies today

Canada approves CNOOC's acquisition of Nexen, with conditions
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would allow Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC to buy Canadian energy company Nexen, but the deal comes with a reciprocity requirement and a prohibition against foreign companies owning key assets, such as oilsands. An analysis.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Dec. 10

Data: Oil spills reaching groundwater in Colorado
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will begin work on proposed groundwater monitoring around gas and oil operations today, and data released by the state indicate that, in the 2,078 oil and gas spills reported over the last five years, 17 percent have contaminated groundwater, and in Weld County, 40 percent of spills reach groundwater.
Boulder Daily Camera (Denver Post); Dec. 10

Western Governors Association at work on 10-year energy plan
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is leading the work done by the Western Governors Association to prepare an energy strategy for the 19-member states of the organization.
Durango Herald (AP); Dec. 10

Federal government releases draft national wildfire strategy
The 2009 FLAME Act put a study on wildland fires and developing a strategy to address those fires on path, and public comment opens on the draft plan which strives to do three things: suppress fire, restore fire-adapted landscapes and protect communities.
Missoulian; Dec. 10

Pipeline proposal a sign about rising concerns over Colorado River water
Water experts said that the fact that the Bureau of Reclamation even included a proposal about building a water pipeline from Kansas to Colorado to carry Missouri River water west is an indication about how seriously over-allocated the Colorado River is.
New York Times; Dec. 10

Idaho groundwater districts buy fish farms to protect water rights
The North Snake, Magic Valley, Bingham, and American Falls groundwater districts in Idaho spent $30 million to buy three fish farms, and while the deal came with a high cost, the districts said it was worth it to protect from future water calls.
Twin Falls Times-News; Dec. 10

Montana FWP to consider restrictions on wolf trapping near Yellowstone
At the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting today, commissioners will consider putting new restrictions on trapping around Yellowstone National Park, after seven of the park's 88 wolves were killed outside the park during hunting seasons in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Ravalli Republic (AP); Dec. 10

  • Hunter kills alpha female of Yellowstone Park's Lamar Pack
    Wyoming wildlife officials said that a female wolf known as 832F to researchers, the oft-photographed alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack in Yellowstone National Park, was shot and killed by a hunter outside the park on Thursday.
    New York Times; Dec. 10

Opinion

B.C.'s exports of coal to Asia begins to dirty up province's 'green' image
Residents of British Columbia have long scorned Alberta's "dirty" oil and are among those who are fighting the Northern Gateway pipeline, but a close look at the coastal province's export business uncovers its dirty little secret: a booming coal export business that allows it to offshore its greenhouse gas emissions. A column by Gary Lamphier.
Edmonton Journal; Dec. 10

Colorado's water testing for hydraulic fracturing needs to be done right
Colorado has long been a leader in the regulation of the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, and now the state is poised to put in place a groundwater testing program to gather baseline data before such drilling starts and collect samples after such operations commence, and it would behoove state and industry leaders to take steps to ensure the testing program is the best it can be.
Denver Post; Dec. 10

Beyond the region

Ship rips through coal conveyor at B.C. port
Westshore Terminals in Roberts Bank on British Columbia's west shore is shut down, after an incident early Friday morning when a bulk carrier destroyed a coal conveyor system and dumped an estimated half a rail car of coal into Fraser Bay.
Vancouver Sun; Dec. 10

USDA chief warns that rural America become less relevant in politics
At a forum sponsored by the Farm Journal, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told farmers they needed to stop battling among themselves and work together to ensure policy makers in Washington D.C. not forget about rural America.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Dec. 8

European food safety officials warn Canada, Mexico about U.S. horse meat
Concerns over doping of racehorses in the United States prompted European food safety officials to warn Mexico and Canada that they may require lifetime records of slaughtered horses before allowing the import of the horse meat for human consumption.
New York Times; Dec. 9

Russia's new ban on ractopamine could end U.S. exports of beef, pork
U.S. officials said Russia's announcement Friday that it was banning the import of meat that contained ractopamine, an additive widely used in the United States to make meat more lean, was in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, passed to allow the freezing of assets of Russian officials involved in the death of Sergei L. Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow detention center after accusing Russian officials of embezzlement.
New York Times; Dec. 10

Scientists debate refreezing Arctic
Recently published studies indicate that refreezing the Arctic is an option, and that such a proposal wouldn't cost that much.
Vancouver Sun (Canadian Press); Dec. 10

Groups dispute amount of backup California needs for wind, solar power
California's mandate that one-third of its power come from wind, solar or other renewable resources also comes with a need to provide backup when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, and there is considerable debate about just how much power that is.
Los Angeles Times; Dec. 10



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